Training for two
Everyone knows exercise is good for us! Not only does it keep our clothes fitting better, but it keeps our insides working and improves our mental health. Keeping fit, healthy and strong during pregnancy has so many benefits for mums to be and if done correctly, it is completely safe for your baby if you have a low risk pregnancy. As most of the weight gained in pregnancy is at the front and centre of the body, women’s centre of gravity often changes and their back has to compensate for it. The weight from a growing baby, as well as those wonderful hormones causing laxity, puts a lot of strain on the pelvic area which can cause all sorts of discomfort during pregnancy. Being fit and heathy during pregnancy can help with your endurance levels during labour, your ability to push and will help with post birth recovery.
We have collaborated with Kelly’s Personal Training to give you some examples of safe and useful exercises to do during pregnancy. Kelly is a personal trainer who has undertaken extra education around training for two. Kelly is also a nurse and a partner of New to the Tribe. If anyone is looking for a trainer, Kelly is your woman! She makes training fun and exciting and you know you’re in safe hands with her background!
So what type of exercises are safe in pregnancy? It's important to remember your abilities pre-pregnancy and work around that. Pregnancy is not a good time to train for your first marathon! Aim for regular, moderate levels of exercise that have low impact on your joints, like walking and swimming. If you have access to a gym, start using the cross trainer, rower or bikes for your cardio as your pregnancy progresses. Make sure you are keeping hydrated and not overheating yourself for long periods of time. On a scale of 1-20, 20 being the max effort, work at a level of 13-14. A good routine could involve 5 minutes of cardio, 3-4 times in your work out. In-between your chosen cardio, use a mix of upper and lower body exercises, aiming to do each exercise 3x10 times.
Please note this is general advice and may not be appropriate for you.
• Stick to your regular exercise routine. Slowly getting lighter in your weights and shortening your cardio time, adding in more rest periods.
• If you don't normally exercise try to walk briskly three times per week. You can also add in some squats, pushups, tricep dips and lunges.
• Make sure you’re doing your pelvic floor exercises and stretching every day. To strengthen your pelvic floor, squeeze the muscles used to hold in a wee and a poo at the same time. Aim to squeeze and release 10x3 times per day.
16 weeks onwards
• Avoid any exercises on your back such as sit ups. Instead, start to focus on strengthening your upper body for all the future mum duties like changing, holding and feeding your baby.
• You will need to stretch your chest and strengthen your back. If you have access to machines use the seated row and lateral pull downs to do this.
• You can build up muscle in your arms with dumbbell bicep curls, lateral raises and tricep extensions. Doing exercise in upright positions might be more comfortable if you’re struggling with reflux.
• If you don't have access to gym equipment then body weight pushups and triceps dips are just as good. Don't forget plenty of squats and lunges to keep your lower body going too! As your pregnancy progresses, aim to do your exercises with your legs close together like you are wearing a mini skirt. This will help with your centre of gravity and help protect your hips and pelvis.
Doing all of these exercises can be incredibly helpful during and after your pregnancy, but remember, at the end of the day, any exercise is better than no exercise!